Can you imagine taking 20 minutes to eat three raisins? That's one of the exercises associated with the increasingly popular trend of "mindful eating," the New York Times reports. Mindful eating is basically meditation with food, and it started, of course, at Buddhist monasteries. But health experts are beginning to tout its benefits in everyday life; Google even has one mindful lunch hour per month. It's not a diet—you can even eat a cheeseburger mindfully—but the act of taking the time to thoroughly chew each bite, experience the flavors, and really think about the food before chowing down on the next bite may cause you to make healthier choices.
"I think the fundamental problem is that we go unconscious when we eat," and mindful eating addresses that problem, says one pediatrician who published a book on the subject—one of many published in recent years. Says another doctor and author, "We need to be coming back to ourselves and saying: 'Does my body need this? Why am I eating this? Is it just because I’m so sad and stressed out?'" Those who want to try it can seek out a monastery, like Blue Cliff Monastery in New York's Hudson Valley, which hosts mindful meals—which are completely silent, of course. If you can't make it to New York, read the full article for more tips to get started. (Read more mindfulness stories.)